Warlock (1989)

Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Julian Sands, Lori Singer, Richard E Grant . USA . 1h 43m

The beauty about Warlock is the links to folklore and the sharp dressed bas ass warlock played by Julian Sands and the uber charismatic Richard E Grant as the hunter. Both Brits have amazing screen presence but were able to empower their own characters while not overshadowing each other.

David Twohy has first conceived a story about a witch being persecuted during the crazed 17th Century and was seeking revenge but the film developed into some more sinister as the writing progressed, instead of take down and revenge, we just have a evil mastermind obsessed with releasing Satan onto the earth.

Let your attention lie before you not beside you!

Opening with the capture of the Warlock (Sands) in 1691 Boston, by a famed with-hunter Giles Redferne (Grant), the warlock is sentenced to death for his devilry but is saved by Satan at the last minute who opens a portal transporting him into the late 20th Century Los Angles, Redferne leaps through the portal and continues his cat and mouse chase of the Warlock albeit in “modern” times which he struggles to get used to.

The 80’s really were an era where sci fi and horror films really liked to use time travel to give us hours of “getting used to their surrounds scenarios” so it takes a while for the film to pick up pace again but this doesn’t help with the introduction of an unwilling victim, Kassandra (Singer) a waitress who is cursed by the Warlock with an aging spell, but after eventually teaming up with Redferne they are back on the road chasing after a the warlock who’s determined to reassemble the Grand Grimoire and usher in Satan.

While chasing across country, this is where lots of New England and middle American folklore ideals come into play, a witches presence changing milk and making horses sweat etc. With the addition that both men have literally stepped out of the 1600’s the folk is rife in them!

Julian Sands was getting a bit tired of his constant bad guy horror movie roles but after seeing the script he fell for this character and thankfully as he’s so perfect for it, originally he was going to be the hunter, but the energy Grant brought to the role, a sort of Withnail on bible studies is an utter delight. The grisly scenes are well set out and the constantly aging sidekick was done with minimal effects as she didn’t like wearing the prosthetics, but she did pull through by the end of the movie and bulked up her character.

Warlock site comfortably between, action and horror, even at the most gruesome moment’s it’s not one of the most impressive horrors, and it’s never going to be considered a full on action movie but it’s highly creative and thoroughly enjoyable to a creepy sadistic new villain and possibly the best witch hunter ever. I wish Grant had branched out with his wry character more often.

Rating: 7/10

 

R: Warlock II (1993), Warlock III (1999), Wishmaster (1997), Terminator (1984),

5s: Julian Sands, Richard E Grant

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